Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tim Rutten: Worst pundit in the world?

To the best of my knowledge I've never read Tim Rutten before, and please God never will again. His arguments are some of the lamest recorded by pixel.

'For his noble words, Obama deserves the prize: The negative reaction to the president's Nobel Peace Prize ignores history.'

'Within hours of Friday's announcement that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, commentators and politicians all over the map were denouncing the award as "absurd."

At first blush, that seems the only reasonable response, because the president has yet to bring peace anywhere, and given the Nobel committee's deadlines, his nomination for the prize must have occurred within 11 days of his inauguration. On the other hand, under the terms of Alfred Nobel's will, the peace prize is awarded by five lawmakers selected from the Norwegian Storting, or parliament. The committee's current president is Norway's former prime minister, Thorbjorn Jagland, now president of the Storting.'

Those are the two most rediculous sentances ever tied together by the words 'On the other hand'. Ever. I checked.

'In other words, the prize was conferred by experienced politicians who seem to know exactly what they were doing.'

Ah right, yes, that does make it a lot less absurd.

'Expressing its particular approval of Obama's "vision ... of a world without nuclear weapons," the committee wrote: "Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. ... Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. ... For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman."'

Rah Rah Rah, we love Obama! Sis boom bah, we hate Bush!

'This year's prize, then, is meant to reward words and not deeds.'

Yes because giving speeches is so much harder and more challenging than getting things done.

Now, I have to preface this next bit because you just won't believe what the premise is- it is so unbelievably insulting and disrespectful. The premise is that the people who won the prize in the past were mostly failures and the stuff they did, the actual labors they undertook, sometimes requiring lifetimes of hard work, were worthless. I told you you wouldn't believe me...

'Considering the 89 Nobel Peace Prizes that have been awarded since 1901 is a melancholy experience. By and large, they're the chronicle of a blood-soaked century's fitful hopes and consistent failures. With the exception of a handful of organizations -- the Red Cross, the American Friends Service Committee, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees -- whose good efforts continue, it's largely a story of individuals involved with forgotten peace initiatives, abandoned agreements and ultimately ineffectual treaties. The notable recent exceptions are the prizes given to the people who brought an end to South African apartheid and Ulster's civil strife.

But it's certainly true of the three previous American officeholders who were awarded the prize. Theodore Roosevelt won for his role in forging the Portsmouth Treaty, which ended the Russo-Japanese War but brought only a temporary cessation of animosity between those two countries. Woodrow Wilson won for his promotion of the League of Nations, but he was unable to persuade even his own country to join, and the organization failed utterly after the rise of fascism. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes was given the 1925 award for his formulation of a "plan" that was supposed to stabilize the German economy while allowing the payment of reparations for World War I. It didn't, but it did further poison his already bitter relationship with President Coolidge, whose Cabinet meetings Dawes refused to attend.'

Teddy Roosevelt was a failure? Yeah, because Russia and Japan have been fighting solidly for a hundred years, no? What is a cessation of animosity? To deserve the Nobel, do the countries you bring peace to have to fall in love as well? Woodrow Wilson created a whole massive organisation! But he is a failure too, in the through-the-looking-glass world of Rutten. Ok, the League of Nations was destroyed by fascism, but so was half the civilised world. That was Wilson's fault?

All the other sad bastards that won the Nobel spent their time on 'forgotten peace initiatives, abandoned agreements and ultimately ineffectual treaties'. What use are they? They didn't give sexually stimulating speeches!

'Against that backdrop, the Norwegian pols' preference for Obama's hopeful rhetoric doesn't seem quite so absurd.'

[Our blogger has run screaming from the room, scrabbling around frantically for Valium].

'...Many Europeans -- and particularly those associated with the prize -- are bound to recall that just 45 years ago, the Nobel went to another black American, Martin Luther King Jr., then involved in the struggle against legalized racial separation in the United States. Now, against all odds and expectations, that same United States has elected an African American president...'

So why don't the American people get the Nobel?

'...It would have been unthinkable a few years ago that the opposition party would not have at least extended the president perfunctory congratulations for this honor; he is, after all, the head of state. No longer. Before Obama even had a chance to speak in public, Republican National Chairman Michael Steele denounced the award...'

Why is it that Democrats have elided the entire second Bush term from their collective memory? If President Bush had won anything, anything at all, it would have recieved the same vicious deranged foul-mouthed lambasting that everything remotely relating to President Bush recieved. When you say 'a few years ago' Rutten, do you mean the fifties? Thought so.

'...Still, the Nobel Prize is a funny thing that sometimes confers its own peculiar specific gravity. Earlier this week, for example, the literature award went to a Romanian-born author, Herta Muller, who is little read in her adopted country -- Germany, in whose language she writes -- and known hardly at all in this country. On Thursday morning, when the award was announced, "The Land of Green Plums," by all accounts her best book, was No. 56,359 on; by the close of business that day, it was No. 7.

If the peace prize increases our attention to Obama's continuing appeal to our nature's better angels -- both at home and abroad -- by a mere fraction of that climb, where's the absurdity?'

Mellifluous piffle is mostly harmless. Mellifluous piffle mobilised to hide a socialist and statist agenda is both morally despicable and deeply cynical. Giving a man doing the latter a prize for doing it? That is worse than absurd.

So, apparently, Ruttens argument is this: giving Obama a profile boost is worth permanently diminishing the already diminished worth of the prize, because he says nice things. Oh, and all the other guys that won it? Losers!

Next week, Tim Rutten explains why forcing people to buy healthcare increases their freedom and choice.,0,6945839.column [Hat Tip: HotAir]

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